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Advent Calendar Window 5 - Rudolph's Tipple

It may be that Window Number 5 of this Advent Calendar sees my first defeat against a beer's Best Before Date.
 
For the past few years, Greenfield Brewery's Rudolph's Tipple 5% has been on of my favourite seasonal ales I've had on cask. I've found it a few times due to this brewery being located around 3 miles from me. It isn't a biased point of view, it's a fact that the warm, mulled spiced flavouring in this porter fits perfectly into my Christmas beer ideal. I saw it in bottles in Mossley Organics in January of this year. I picked up a couple of bottles, thinking I'd have them in the cold Winter months. Eventually I decided they would be acceptable for ageing, being strong Posterso despite having a best before date of June 2013.I generally ignore these dates on my bottles of beer as, aside from some cans of Boddingtons when I was 19, I've never noticed the affects.
 
"I'll protect you from the hooded claw
Keep the vampires from your door..."
 
Obviously I've mentioned this best before date because of it's possible adverse affect on this ale. So let's not get too complex with the tasting. It's as dark as you expect a Winter Porter to be and is full of mulled spice on the nose. The taste is full of this too; cinnamon, clove, cardamom and ginger dominate initially. But the aftertaste is very acerbic. There's a sickly, astringent finish in this beer that I've certainly never found in any cask version I've had. It's reminiscent of a poorly kept cask ale. Of course, these problems could have been apparent had I drank this in January, but I'm going to give this one the benefit of the doubt on the length of time it's been kept. Biased maybe, but this beer is usually a perfect Christmas porter.
 
Purchased at Mossley Organic & Fine Foods, January 2013

Drunk with a mince pie this time to try and counter balance the acidity. Those poor Advent chocolate figures

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